A few weeks ago during a baseball game in Arizona, one of the players threw a ball into the stands for someone to catch and keep as a souvenir. Nicholas and Ian, two boys sitting nearby, reached out to grab the ball. But Ian, who is older, got the prize.
So, he’s off running around and celebrating and holding up his prize and having a ball, and then he notices that little Nicholas is himself in a ball in his mother’s arms, crying and miserable that he came so close to getting a game ball and lost it.
When he saw Nicholas crying, Ian stopped in mid-celebration. Then, he did something that no one was expecting. He walked down the stairs about 15 feet or so and handed the ball over to Nicholas. Now, that game ball is very important to a kid, that’s a prize, that’s something that a boy is going to put in his room and make him think about his dreams in life. But to Ian, something more important than having a ball was giving a ball.
Well, what Ian didn’t know was that someone was watching. Well, not just someone, but everyone. He was on TV. The next thing you know, he gets a call on his cellphone, and then he’s up in the announcer’s booth with his friends, on TV. He gets a free ticket to another game, and an autographed bat from his favorite baseball player. And then, a few days later, he’s throwing out the first pitch at the Diamondbacks game. He was on centerstage for the whole city. All these great things because of one small act, because he thought it’s better to give a ball than to have a ball in life.
If we have the good things of life, we can enjoy them for ourselves, or we can share with the people who don’t have. Yeah, it costs, it hurts, you’ve gotta let go of something you need. But someone sees it, Someone important, and He is ready to put you in the spotlight, to lift you up, and give you a share of His prize. “And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.” (Mt 6:4)
We could have a ball. Or, give a ball.
“Give, and it will be given to you; good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For the measure you give will be the measure you get back.” (Lk 6:38)